Focus on Equity

The Mind Trust pursues racial equity because we know that a disproportionate number of Black and Latino students in our city have historically lacked access to high-quality schools.

The entirety of our racial equity programming is focused on improving student proficiency. That is because student proficiency is a marker of how prepared students are for success after high school and in life. Prepared students can leave their K–12 experience ready to be tomorrow’s leaders who can craft a more equal society.

The Mind Trust is committed to pursuing equity in education by actively combating inequity, injustice, and discrimination in the Indianapolis education system. We look toward our commitments to guide everything we do as an organization.

Our commitments:

  • Create policies, programs, and opportunities internally and externally that close racial disparities.
  • Eliminate the predictability of outcomes associated with race or other identity markers through our work for our city’s students and our staff.
  • Reflect on and evaluate the impact of our work by engaging our students, families, and communities.
  • Empower and elevate current and upcoming leaders of color by investing in them through leveraging our resources and access.

Our Leadership and Racial Equity team led several initiatives in 2022 for schools, organizations, and our staff.

The Achievement Project

The Achievement Project is an opportunity for parents and schools to work together to co-create a solution for improving student achievement. Parents attend sessions to learn more about state academic requirements and standards and then collaborate with a school on designing and implementing programming that will aid students in becoming academically proficient.

KIPP Indy Public Schools piloted The Achievement Project in the 2021–22 school year and engaged 161 elementary and middle school parents in reviewing their children’s academic progress and understanding how they can best support their students outside of school.

KIPP Indy Public Schools continued The Achievement Project this year and The PATH School and Adelante Schools kickstarted this initiative with their families for the 2022–23 school year.

Watch our video highlighting The Achievement Project.

Young boy working on computer.

Go Farther Literacy Fund

The Go Farther Literacy Fund is a program from The Mind Trust that funds solutions to help address our city’s literacy crisis and ensure all children read at or above grade level. Awarded funds range from $150–$5,000.

In January 2022, we awarded $50,000 to 18 families, schools, and organizations. That brings the total investment through this initiative to $80,000 in just two years. Our fund is modeled after Educate78’s and Energy Converters’: People’s Literacy Fund in Oakland, CA.

Watch our video highlighting the Go Farther Literacy Fund.

Go Farther Literacy Fund group photo.

MelanatED Leaders

Founded in 2019, MelanatED Leaders creates a community where Black and Latino leaders across the Indianapolis education sector connect and support one another in their short- and long-term career challenges and aspirations. The organization focuses on three pillars: community, capacity, and candor.

The community pillar involves community gatherings and networking opportunities for leaders of color to forge deep relationships and build one another up. The capacity pillar speaks to how MelanatED Leaders events offer high-quality professional development and training in areas like board service, fundraising, and executive leadership.

Lastly, the candor pillar is lived out through the mentoring, coaching, and consultancies that MelanatED Leaders provides for its network.

MelanatED Leaders also completed its second year of working with Teach for America alumni of color on adaptive education leadership and leading through lines of difference.

Developing a culturally-responsive ELA curriculum for Indiana schools

The Mind Trust has partnered with Lavinia Group to develop a culturally-responsive ELA curriculum that is Indiana-focused and state-standards-aligned. This curriculum will meaningfully highlight the contributions of Black and Latino Hoosiers while engaging students with materials and projects that embrace a diversity of backgrounds and cultures.

A group of Indianapolis educators are writing month-long unit plans for K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade bands. Following development, Lavinia Group will train interested educators on the curriculum with plans to pilot the curriculum at select Indianapolis schools in spring 2023.

Other key organizational partners for this initiative include Indiana State Museum, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Teach For America, La Plaza, Indianapolis Recorder, Edna Martin Christian Center, and five schools or school networks: KIPP Indy Public Schools, Global Preparatory Academy at Riverside School 44, BELIEVE | Circle City High School, Adelante Schools at Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School, and Rooted School Indianapolis.

Surge Academy Indianapolis

Sixteen Black and Latino leaders participated in Surge Academy Indianapolis’ second cohort in 2022. The program took participants through an intensive Fellowship experience that explored executive skills development, strategic planning, and change management. Surge Academy also prioritizes dialogue on racial equity throughout its programming.

The Mind Trust’s vendor diversity

Pursuing equity means accounting for where each dollar is spent and who those dollars support. Last year, The Mind Trust increased our total funds spent with organizations led by people of color to 36%. That represented a 10 point increase over our baseline of 26%.

We are thrilled to report continued progress in this regard, with 49% of our total funds spent with organizations led by people of color in 2022.

Diversity volunteering initiative

Part of living out our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion is ensuring that each of our staff contribute to and invest in diverse organizations across our city.

Our Diversity Volunteering Initiative connects staff to diverse organizations around the city who have expressed a need for capacity-building, consulting, or programmatic support. Last year, our staff volunteered 245 hours, which averaged over 10 hours per staff. We are currently on track to meet our fiscal year goal of 360 hours spent volunteering with diverse organizations such as Teach Indy, Outreach Indy, MERCIndy, and Brave Youth Before and After School Program.

“The Mind Trust believes in community and wants to support community initiatives. Pair that with our equity core value and it’s important to recognize that if our volunteering doesn’t mirror that, we aren’t getting equity right.” —Patrick Jones, Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity